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Meet the 2017 Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards finalists

The SAB Foundation in collaboration with the Technology Innovation Agency has selected 24 finalists for the 2017 Social Innovation Awards and Disability Empowerment Awards.

The winners of the two awards will get over R9-million in prize money at an awards ceremony which will be held later this month on 23 October.

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Of the 24 finalists, 18 have been shortlisted for the Social Innovation Awards while six have been selected for the Disability Empowerment Awards.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the creativity and quality of the entries this year and it was quite a task to narrow down the nominees. Each of the finalists has developed practical solutions to real challenges being faced by communities across South Africa,” SAB Foundation Director Bridgit Evans said in a press release.

Over R9-million in prize money will be awarded to the winners of the Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards

Social Innovation Awards

The overall Social Innovation winner will receive R1.3-million, while the second and third place winners will receive R750 000 and R500 000 respectively.

In addition, several development awards of between R150 000 and R400 000 will be presented to deserving innovations.

The Social Innovation Awards cover health, education, energy, water and sanitation and livelihoods and sustainable agriculture. These sectors help improve the lives of the SAB Foundation’s primary beneficiaries, namely women, youth, people living with disabilities and people living in rural areas.

To be considered for the awards, finalists need to demonstrate their ability to be commercial and scalable.

Disability Empowerment Awards

SAB Foundation launched the Disability Empowerment Awards, with a total prize money of over R3-million, last year. This was in recognition of the increase in the number of innovations providing solutions for people with disabilities and as a means of recognising the critical work carried out in this underserved sector.

Finalists were selected based on their innovation’s business potential, overall innovation, life change potential, job creation and scalability.

“For the past seven years, the SAB Foundation has focused on igniting a culture of social innovation in South Africa. This focus is underpinned by the belief that innovation is required to shift South Africa’s many social challenges and that only way to scale this innovation is through committed entrepreneurs and viable business models,” said Evans.

Here are the finalists:

Social Innovation finalists

Iziko Stoves: Innovative cooking and braai stoves that utilise wood, coal or any biomass materials as the cooking fuel. The stoves are made from recycled paint cans, gas cylinders and geysers.

Umgibe Growing System: A patented, frugal, water-wise innovation conceptualised by Umgibe founder, Nonhlanhla Joye. The system was conceived through necessity and has evolved over the years, from a wooden structure into a recyclable, agro-ecological tool that supports new economy principles and the circular economy.

ChemStart: This is a R749 mini-science kit developed for high school learners. It contains 52 experiments, one for every week of the year, for continuous practical interaction with science concepts. The manual explains how to conduct experiments and links each concept with its everyday application in daily life, making science concepts easy to understand and grasp.

Excel@Uni: Is a service provider that offers student monitoring, academic support, and mentoring as well as professional development services to previously disadvantaged university students.

Smart Agri Solution: Smart technology specifically designed for smallholders enables them to access a higher part of the food value chain than solo production would allow. Smart Agri Solution builds rural localised agribusinesses based around an accredited ‘mini food factory’, which can then supply local, rural retail stores such as Spar or Shoprite.

Balambie: A cardboard baby cot which consists of three easy-to-assemble panels. The Balambies are made of a cost-effective, environmentally friendly, safe and lightweight material. In addition, the cots are covered with several key health messages, such as how to care for the infant and identify health problems and where to go and whom to contact should they need help.

Timu Trust: An online platform that helps unemployed people prove they are trustworthy so that they can trade their available time for skills or an income. Timu Trust helps members build a professional online profile and then connect members with opportunities within walking distance through which they can build credibility, gain experience and learn new skills.

Abalobi: A mobile app suite and programme aimed at social justice and poverty alleviation in the small-scale fisheries chain.

AutoTurtle: An automated micro solar power station where the solar panels fold away automatically for extra security. This container-based solution is assembled off-site then deployed by simply offloading and pressing a button.

I-Drop Water: Founded in 2015 , I-Drop builds and installs specially designed water purification and dispensing machines (which can purify municipal, rain or borehole water) in grocery stores at no cost to shop owners. The I-Drop machine purifies water which shoppers can then use to refill their own containers at 20% of the cost of bottled water.

RailPro: RailPro makes Road Rail Vehicles, trucks that travel on the road as a regular vehicle using normal tyres and on rail with a retractable set of axles and steel rail wheels. RailPro was awarded the Design Excellence Award by the South African Bureau of Standards..

hearScope: This is a low cost, user-friendly smartphone-based otoscope used to diagnose ear disease. Its camera and optics allow high quality video and image footage of the eardrum and links to a cloud-based analysis system for automated diagnosis of the five most common ear conditions. Its simple user-interface and application means anyone can record images for an automated diagnosis that can ensure preventative treatment.

Vuleka: This app allows spaza shop owners to place orders for fast moving consumer goods. Vuleka aggregates the different orders of the different goods, allowing for combination bulk purchases. Bundling these goods together in bulk purchases enables Vuleka to obtain discounts, which are then passed on to the individual shop owners. The app is linked to a virtual wallet payment system, meaning that the payments are cashless. Upon payment, the purchases are delivered to the shop owner’s premises.

GrassBeef: A new healthy way of producing beef that involves the upliftment of rural communal cattle farmers through Livestock Wealth‘s off-take agreement.

Seebox: A unique interactive game console that comes packed with video tutorials & experiments to spark kids’ interest in engineering & electronics.

CommuScore: Fintech startup that has developed an alternative credit scoring model for the unbanked. The startup captures payment and lending behaviours of consumers and micro-enterprises in the informal sector through a stokvel administration and management tool to build a credit profile for lenders in the formal sector.

Ivili Loboya: This wool processing facility sources cashmere from local farmers, using app-based logistics and management technology. It then processes the fibres in Butterworth, Eastern Cape and trains and works with rural enterprises to weave, knit, and sew cashmere yarns into textiles and finished products for sale in local and international markets.

Aqua Test Kit: Aqua Test is a simple, rapid and inexpensive screening test for faecal pollution in rural water supplies. It is a low-cost method featuring a colour change which is easy to read and can be used by minimally trained people with no formal education.

Disability Empowerment finalists

FingerTalk: FingerTalk claims it is South Africa’s first mobile app for learning South African Sign Language (SASL). The app is aimed at deaf South Africans and their family and friends.

GreenABLE: This non-profit company trains people with disabilities to dismantle empty printer cartridges into their recyclable components for recycling.

Smergos: Founded by Nick Smit and Nicole Vergos, Smergos creates a range of wheelchair bags and other accessories that provide much needed functionality through a choice of simple, personalised designs. Smergos aims to offer a range of bags that fit neatly onto any wheelchair, giving the customer a safe and easily accessible way of carrying their belongings.

Hand Bikes: Hand Bikes currently produces two models of hand-bikes. The basic design, made with easy maintainable and robust parts, makes this product unique and affordable for individuals living with a disability.

Brownies&Downies: A coffee shop and lunch room that’s open to the general public and serves as a training centre for people with intellectual disabilities. Brownies&Downies provides on-site, work-while-training opportunities consisting of hard-skills, soft-skills and social-skills training. After training, Brownies&Downies attempts to place them with employers requiring their skills.

ProxiSee: This mobile app aims to bring a sense of “sight” and navigation to blind or visually impaired persons by means of audible (sound) and touch sensitive (vibrations) signals. The signals are activated based on proximity to beacons located within buildings, offices, complexes and public transport interchanges.

Featured image: Supplied

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